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Time has come for RRI in ICT

Roger Torrenti - July 21, 2015

responsible-research-innovationSigma Orionis has the privilege to coordinate a Horizon 2020 CSA (coordination and support action), launched on January 1, 2015 for a period of 3 years, aiming at supporting the emergence of the RRI approach in ICT (detailed information on this RRI-ICT Forum project to be provided in the coming weeks through our News section).

RRI stands for Responsible Research and Innovation and can be defined as “an inclusive approach to R&I aligning the process and outcomes of R&I with the values, needs, and expectations of our societies”1. Such an approach is particularly necessary in ICT R&I since they are not only an enabler of societal evolution but also a transformer of societal conditions.

Of course, Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) are expected to bring a critical contribution to an RRI approach in ICT since they can “monitor economic, legal, and social issues related to technological developments and reframe and update the concepts, meanings, and expectations arising from the deployment of ICTs”1.

We are very proud of this new project that reinforces the portfolio of research projects and support actions Sigma Orionis has been developing since 2007 in the “ICT with and for society” area. Those projects share the overall objective of convincing the ICT research community to adopt forward-looking approaches and go for multidisciplinarity research, which will lead Europe’s citizens and businesses to truly get the most out of digital technologies. There are fully in line with our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy aimed in particular at contributing to the social and environmental development of societies.

Among those projects, several FP7 ones:

  • PARADISO (2007-2011), coordinated by Sigma Orionis and developed with the support of the Club of Rome, exploring foreseeable interactions between the Internet and societal developments in the next decades.
  • FLAGSHIP (2013-2015), coordinated by the Istituto di Studi per l’Integrazione dei Sistemi, and aiming at supporting the policy shift from adapting to changes through short-term policy responses, towards anticipating, welcoming and managing changes properly.
  • ICT & Art Connect (2013-2014), coordinated by Sigma Orionis and set up to identify new research avenues, associated challenges, and the potential impact of ICT and Art collaboration on science, technology, art, education and society in general.
  • Internet Science, a network of excellence coordinated by CERTH, strengthening scientific and technological excellence by developing an integrated and interdisciplinary scientific understanding of Internet networks and their co-evolution with society.
  • CATALYST and CAP2020 (2013-2015), coordinated by Sigma Orionis and addressing how emerging “collective awareness platforms for sustainability and social innovation” can, in particular through collective intelligence, contribute increasing the impact of grassroots initiatives addressing societal challenges (see also our blog “Can CAPS change the world?”).

Roger Torrenti – CEO of Sigma Orionis – RRI-ICT Forum Coordinator

1 How to go about RRI and SSH in ICT-related parts of H2020 WP14-15 – European Commission – 2013

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